Saturday, January 26, 2013

A hiatus

I realize that my blog is relatively new and I cannot have possibly shared everything in my head....but I am going to take a bit of a hiatus. I'm hoping to be back in a week.

I recently posted about my bunny Finley. Well, she took a turn for the worse last night and we decided the right thing was to let her go. Finley was our little boss and fighter. She will always have a special place in my heart.

And true to her nature, she got in one little last jab at the newest bunny of the bunch. This bunny, Naveen, had gotten after Finley before and did permanent damage to her nose pad. I noticed last night that somehow, Naveen has a tiny cut on her nose....and while I don't want any bunny to ever get hurt, it's kind of funny that Finley got one last jab in. It says a lot about Finley's spirit.

So, I'm going to take some time to mourn the loss of my little family member and come back with renewed dedication that no bunny or animal should be the victim of animal testing. They should all live in warm homes with families that love them.

So, what's changed?

I am officially two months into this vegetarian thing and I can't say that much has changed with my decision to be vegetarian. Between a change to my diet and buying/using cruelty-free products, I am making choices that are aligned with my beliefs. But if you came into my home you will still find non-cruelty-free items and a fridge full of meat.

For one thing, I didn't throw out the un-used products because that is just wasteful. And even one year later it's still around. Windex lasts *forever* in our home (although maybe that's a clue that we should wash our windows and mirrors more or something!)

The other thing is that my values do not represent the entire household. My husband opted not to make all of my changes and really only agreed to switching to a few cruelty-free items. He's still a mega meat eater and cringes at the thought of changing his dish soap and laundry detergent. While I'd prefer he went along with my choices in this area, I can't fault him for living according to his values since he has been pretty accepting of mine.

One big change is that I am more likely to cook now. I've gone from cooking once a week to 2-3 times per week. I think my husband appreciates this. I'm also more likely to recognize my cravings and let him know if I want to do my own thing. And he's more likely to listen. This is a huge perk because now if I want breakfast at supper I don't have to hear a mini-lecture or snide comments about how that's not 'supper food'. I've noticed that by eating what I want, I'm less likely to eat junk. Win-win.

Ultimately, by living by my convictions, I'm feeling better about myself. I'm more confident with my choices and I'm just generally happier. Yay me. :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

One of my reasons

Finley enjoying the sun through the window
Every single day of my life I have four little reminders of why I purchase cruelty-free products. Rabbits are commonly used for animal testing, but in our house rabbits are safe. Here, their job is to be happy. My job is to keep them happy and relatively comfortable. In return, I receive their affection and daily interaction.

Some of you won't 'get it'. And that's why I'm posting about my bunnies. To show that they are awesome pets and should not be used in testing for the newest miracle cosmetic cream (or anything else either).

Finely's story isn't the most amusing (stay tuned down the road for Behr stories). Finley is pretty low-key and I'm not sure that she realizes that she is a rabbit. However, Finley is a super special bunny. Finley is the bunny that has taught us the most about rabbit behaviour. She forced us to work for her affection and we had to learn new ways of approaching her...which basically means that she is the boss and she will receive attention on demand. She would do this by not-so-gently nudging our feet, and then hopping across the room to reach her 'pet-me' location.

Finley is also the most manipulative bunnies we've owned. She typically only acts like a bunny if no one is looking. She would do her binkies/races/destruction in another room and then pretend it wasn't her. Uh, yes Finley. The carpet chewed *itself*. But really, you would start to think that *is* a possibility since it would be so out of character.

Finley snuggling with Behr

Finley's also the boss of the bunny room. She sends other bunnies out to explore and report back to her. She also keeps the others in line in some magical way. I'm not quite sure how she does it.
Finley joined the family six years ago. She's estimated to be eight years old, which is elderly for a rabbit. These days, Finley's job is to relax, which is good since she can't do much else. She has become quite arthritic and incontinent with age. She's also deaf and has a tumour in her ear. She gets a cartrophen injection once monthly, metacam once daily, and gabapentin twice daily.

The good news? Over the years, Finley has proven that she's a trooper. She's had a few health scares and we almost lost her multiple times. But she's not done yet. She lets us know this every day with her excitement to eat and the enjoyment she gets from snuggling with her main-bunny Behr and her other-bunny Zayne. Some days, when she's up to it, she will move beyond the rabbit room into the living room (mostly when no humans are looking). And if we do catch her, our job is to stand perfectly still. I'm good with that. I enjoy seeing her explore because I don't know how many more days I will get to spend with her.

Finley loves her blankets

 As the owner of an elderly rabbit, I get peed on and flicked at. I'm no longer her favourite person and am often avoided. However, once the yucky medicine is finished, I will sometimes get licked for my efforts to keep her healthy. And so I go through a lot of laundry (from being peed on) and I pay significant amounts of money to keep her comfortable.

And I purchase cruelty-free products because every bunny deserves a chance to be loved and respected like Finley.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Stuff worth checking out

Hungry for Change: 

The general premise of this documentary is to encourage people to eat real food and to avoid unprocessed stuff. Overall, it was worth watching. It gave me a  new perspective on food and dieting. However, I also found that some of the ideas were a bit disjointed...sort of like it was trying to do too much and argue too many things. On the flip side, it was interesting to hear the different perspectives of the speakers.

One of the points that stood out the most to me was that when you are making a diet-change, it's important to focus on what you are adding in to your diet, not what you are missing out on. For me, it's just about being willing to try new things and being generally healthier. I've stopped dieting at this point and am paying more attention to meeting the needs of my cravings and addressing any compulsive eating. And the movie supports this by encouraging you to add in healthy things and to avoid emotional eating. I realize that this isn't the point of the entire documentary, but it is what jumps out at me.


This documentary looks into the challenges farmers and consumers face in regards to whole foods (such as raw milk) and how governments interfere. I found the documentary interesting, and slightly relevant since a local (to me) farmer is in court after selling raw milk in the area.

For whatever reason, I couldn't get the trailer to imbed, so you can check it out here.


This documentary follows three new vegans take a six week commitment to veganism. I enjoyed it overall, since it gave a face to the barriers in choosing veganism. I also found that it provided information in an accessible way.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Yummy Couscous Salad

I know you are probably thinking that I'm going to name all of my recipes "Yummy whatever". However, *I* didn't name this recipe. So there.

Anyway, I recently made this salad with plans to take it for lunch on work days. And I've also recently decided that this was a very good move. I plan to make this a somewhat-regular rotation.

The actual recipe is from Go here.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New adventures with food

At the start of the year, I wrote about wanting to be a better vegetarian. For me, this meant introducing new foods. I have had some success and am starting to become more open-minded.

The spaghetti-bake with spaghetti squash was good. I will do that again. The Yummy Couscous Salad was also good (that will be reviewed in a separate post). I will be doing that again. But then tonight, the Thai-Peanut stir-fry on quinoa was an epic failure. And luckily for us, there are tons of left-overs. Yay. I can't even describe how excited this makes me.

I knew once I started the recipe that it was a poor choice but I felt committed to continue. And I figured I liked my other experiments....right? But not tonight. On the bright side, at least I've learned and confirmed a few things:
  1. Trying *new* foods can be rewarding
  2. But using recipes that contain items that I *know* I don't like is probably a bad idea.
  3. Giving up on one recipe part-way in to start another with random modifications is also probably a bad idea
  4. I do not like soya sauce
  5. Peanut butter cannot fix everything (although it did slightly help)

I won't be sharing the recipe(s) from tonight. You're welcome.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Yummy Chili

My sister forwarded me a chili recipe, but since it's not hers to share, I felt uncomfortable posting it...until I scrounged the internet (that's right, the whole thing) to find the recipe so I can share it.

But, first, you need to know two things:
  1. I do not like chili
  2. My husband doesn't 'do' vegetarian
And then we had the meal that.changed.everything. Ok, maybe I'm being a titch dramatic. Anyway, today I slaved over the crock pot and made super yummy chili. (except it actually required very little work).

And here it is:

Sweet Vegetarian Chili (AKA the best chili ever)

19oz can of chickpeas
19oz can of red beans
28oz can of diced tomatoes
11/4 cup of corn
2 carrots diced
2 garlic cloves chopped (I put more)
1 red onion chopped
1 green, 1 red, 1 yellow peppers chopped
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup honey ( I used maple syrup)
3tbs chili powder
1/2 cayenne pepper

Throw it all in a crock pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Serve with sour cream and shredded cheese (I skipped this).  

House wife for a day

Anyone who knows me in-real-life knows that my husband is mostly awesome and does most of the household everything. So, today has been a bit of a wake-up call. He had mentioned yesterday morning that he might go skiing today. I thought 'great' and had grand plans to get my hair cut, do groceries (slightly begrudgingly), and then catch up on TV.

Then I learned that he wanted to take my car because it is so much nicer than his. And this changed all of my plans because I don't really want to go anywhere in his car. It's super dirty due to his field of work and it's a weather-depending death trap. On the plus side, the brakes work really well. Unlike my car.

Anyway, so that has left me housebound in a super messy house. I have cleaned the bunny room, groomed the bunnies who need a bit of extra help, washed dishes, started the chili (which I will post about later), and now I am working on laundry. My husband's laundry, which I think should get me extra points.

If I were a good house-wife, I'd also clean the bathroom and do general tidying. But this is an area in which I'm ok to be less than stellar.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Spaghetti Squash

Tonight we had Spaghetti Bake for supper (basically a knock-off lasagna with spaghetti). Except instead of using pasta, I used Spaghetti squash. I've never had this before but I have to say it turned out well in the dish. And it wasn't hard to do....but next time I will microwave the squash for slightly longer. So, I guess new things can be worth trying out. I didn't even die or anything. *And* I might have almost liked it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bunny monsters

I have four rabbits. One is elderly, which requires quite a bit of care. I'm on a first name basis with the staff at our vet's office and probably personally fund all of their vacations. We were at the vet recently so Finley could get some pain management for her arthritis. The next day, we were at the pet store stocking up on supplies for our bunny monsters. Good-bye $70. Or more. I kind of stopped paying attention at check out because it's just too depressing.

Anyway, while we were at the cash, we bumped into someone from the vet's office, who coincidentally also works at the pet store. She told the other cashier that our rabbits are super spoiled and well-cared for. She said that she doesn't know of anyone who takes better care of their pets.

My first reaction was 'aww, thanks!' I do consider myself a pretty good bunny-mom so it's nice to hear that others think that too. But it also made me kind of sad that other bunnies aren't treated as well. For the most part, they make great pets (for the right people). Rabbits are interactive and affectionate little creatures. They each have their own little personalities.

As I typed this, bunny-Naveen was climbing all over me begging for cheek rubs. Then she nose-bonked my legs and later harassed my husband. She rewarded us with the pleasure of giving her attention, followed by her giving me a few licks, and then a demonstration of some bunny twitches (commonly known as binkies).

I just had to take a moment to appreciate the nature of bunnies. Down the road I plan to do a short profile on each rabbit so you get the full picture of how awesome they are (along with a smidgen of reality in regards to their care, mixed with a bit of an undertone of an obsessed bunny-parent).

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Nudge

As I mentioned in my 'intro' post, my move towards vegetarianism was prompted by a few different things. I won't just re-list that now...but I did want to cover a couple of things. First, Food, Inc made me reconsider my dietary needs and choices. It is an eye-opening and thought provoking documentary that shines a light on the food industry. Prior to seeing this documentary I was already avoiding red meat. Following it, I became a vegetarian.

For others considering the switch, a website I found helpful: How to Become a Vegetarian, the Easy Way. It has some tips and things to consider.

For me, this is all still a work in progress. This week I'm focusing on adding in healthier choices. I've made up a loose meal plan - which is completely new to us! We are definitely having vegan chili (my husband is going to do a meat version), tofu-souvlaki, and a stir-fry (with which I will try quinoa for the first time - eek!) Other contenders are pizza, spaghetti bake, and spaghetti squash.

And the fact that blogger does not recognize souvlaki and quinoa in the spell check makes me feel pretty good about my exploration of new-to-me foods. :)  Yay me!

Monday, January 14, 2013

OT: I didn't get peed on

In an effort to focus on positivity, the highlight of my day is that I didn't get peed on.

I tried to start my day by being super organized. I wanted to take my headphones to work so I would have them at my dentist appointment for after work. Good idea, eh? Except that I forgot my phone. Grr.

So, on my lunch I drove home to get the phone...which didn't leave me any time to eat the lunch I had packed. I figured I would just have it after work and before the dentist. And I was really looking forward to my super yummy leftovers. Except I worked late and didn't have time to eat. Boo.

Then my appointment took forever. I got home later than planned and had to medicate my elderly bunny....the same bunny who occasionally pees on me in this process. But today was not one of those occasions. So, the highlight of my day was that I didn't get peed on.

I think I need to review my standards.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


My sister gave me a really awesome knitting bag for Christmas. (It has all of these handy little pockets for my knitting projects). Anyway, she filled the pockets with different little treats. One such treat was a tin of her homemade deodorant. I'm pretty sure she'd given me some before but I don't know where it ended up and I probably didn't give it a fair chance.

(In my defense, that is unusual. I did listen to her about the salt-rock/crystal rock deodorant thing)

But this time I came to my senses and tried her gift. And I have to say it works pretty well. There was one day that I didn't feel as confident in it but that could have been because I didn't apply enough or just because it isn't an anti-perspirant so you will feel a bit damp. But you don't get smelly!

It's really easy to make too and it takes less time than hopping into the car and going to the store. Even if you live right above the store. And you may have the ingredients to make it already (at least I did).

Here it is:

Mix together 1/4 of cornstarch, a 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 5-6 tablespoons of coconut oil. Place in a sealed container. Voila! You are done.

In cooler temperatures it will be a solid mass and as it warms up with your body heat it gets a bit melty (you can see this a bit in the second icture). Because of that, it's not the neatest/easiest thing to apply but it's also not a huge deal either.

My sister says that she makes half the recipe because she stores it in small containers. I am lazy. I made it all and put it in a bigger container. Downside? As it gets empty it will be a pain in the ass to get out. Oh well. Lesson learned.

(The pictures are of the stuff from my sister just because it's a nicer container.)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Pizza Hut

We decided to have lunch out today and found ourselves at Pizza Hut. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of vegetarian options at the buffet. There were two different pasta dishes, a salad bar, and vegetarian pizza. I was definitely glad for the pizza because it was the *only* one that didn't have the hot dog stuffed crusts (and those crusts give me shudders). And then of course there was the apple dessert thing, which is always yummy.

I am not pretending that this was a healthy lunch and I'm not denying that I overdid it. But it was still nice to have a few different options.

Daily life stuff

My husband makes life interesting. And infuriating. It's sort of like a 2-for-1 deal. Awesome.

Anyway, today we had a vet appointment scheduled for our elderly rabbit for a pain management injection. While we were going about our morning routine, he mentions that someone called to confirm an appointment but he couldn't remember if it was the vet or the dentist. He proceeds to play the message and I freak out because, according to the message, the appointment is in less than 30 minutes. The issue? We live 35 minutes away. I'm not dressed and Finley isn't ready to go. I race around trying to get ready. Meanwhile, he realizes that it was an old message and the appointment is in one hour (as I originally thought). Thanks dear. How about we start deleting the old messages?!

Fast forward a bit....I get back from the vet. I proceed to finish setting up the rabbit room and cannot find any rabbit towels (which we use to give them a nice squishy place to rest). I ask my husband and he went on a rant about how I left a full glass of water in the living room. Uh, what?

Apparently he knocked over the water and used all of the rabbit towels to clean it up. Correction. He used the rabbit towels to throw on top of the mess so later when I step in the area I end up with wet feet. Fantastic.

Next he decided to clean the bathtub. Great, right? Well, it would be if he didn't clog the drain in the process. Sort of like how he messed up the electrical outlets in an effort to fix them. But, he *did* fix the sliding door to the bathroom so it sort of all evens out....until I try to take a shower or use any outlet in the kitchen.

See what I mean? Interesting and infuriating. And sometimes kind of funny.

Friday, January 11, 2013


I decided that I wanted to track what I eat in order to see how I'm doing with vitamins (etc). What I don't want to track is calories consumed. It messes me up and I overeat. Unfortunately, I haven't found an app or website that lets me do that. So I figured, what the hell, tracking calories can't hurt, right?

I managed one whole day of tracking calories/vitamins/etc with a plan for today to be day number 2. The result? Well, it seems I'm on target for most nutrients....except I'm over on the calories. *And* we are out of cookies.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Today my coworker commented that it looks like I've lost weight. Aww. Isn't she sweet? Especially if you ignore the fact that she slipped on ice and hit her head yesterday. She also mentioned that she's seeing double so I can't really trust her judgment (ok, she didn't tell me that last thing).

All kidding aside, it's nice compliment to receive. I do think she's off her rocker since we are not far off the holidays in which I gained a bit of weight. I have been tempted to check in with the scale, but have so far been sticking to my plan to check the scale once per month.

In veggie news, I ate some today. :) Nothing too far out of my comfort zone though. Before we go shopping next, I need to scan some recipes so we can stock up on supplies. And I need to scan with an open mind because when I tried last weekend, 99% of the recipes were ruled out for having 'gross' vegetables. I would say that's definitely an area in which to improve.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Literature I had read before making the switch warned me to feel strongly in my convictions and to be able to answer the 'why' behind my decision to become vegetarian. I have yet to come across anyone particularly rude about it so this hasn't really been an issue. I kind of think that this is probably because first I went beef-free (and I vaguely recall asserting some dumb comment like "It's not like I'm vegetarian". Luckily no one called me on that!).

My husband has been extremely supportive considering he's a meat lover. He doesn't count something as a meal unless it includes meat products. And since he does 90% of our cooking (or 99% if I'm being honest) he has been pretty significantly impacted. With that said, he's done a great job.

There are perks in cooking for him now though. For example, I'm more likely to tell him he's on his own for supper and I will make myself xyz. This means he doesn't have to cook as much *and* he can make some of the things I was never interested in anyway.

I kind of figured my mom would react strongly because she wouldn't know what to feed me when I visit. And that's exactly what happened. She seemed less concerned though after a trip to the grocery store and saw that there are many options out there.

I also figured that my sister would react strongly. Not because she's a huge meat-lover but because she's super health-conscious and would worry about that. The first mention of vegetarianism did cause a....reaction but then I avoided it and things got better. She has since noted concerns that I will need to include different foods into my diet (such as quinoa, etc). And she's right, so that is something I am working on.

I anticipated that my counsellor co-workers would be open-minded or at least keep their opinions to themselves. They mostly wanted to know my reasons 'why'. They were all pretty respectful to the factory farming reason, especially since two of them have hobby farms. And one coworker in particular was super awesome. For our Christmas potluck, she made sure that her contribution was vegan *and* gluten-free (for another coworker). I really really appreciated this. It was unexpected, unnecessary, super thoughtful, and pretty typical of the people I work with.

And everyone else....they are just background noise. I'm sure others have strong opinions but I won't have to face some of my family until the next visit home so I'm not stressing about it now. Give it some time though!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Only my husband....

Only my husband would eat nachos with a fork. And then think that this is more practical than my (previous) days of eating chicken wings with two forks. At least that reduced the mess.

Only my husband would shovel a couple of inches of melting snow in order to get to his shed (which he calls a 'garage'). But we wouldn't want him having to wade through two whole inches of snow, would we? It was a good thing he was decked out with snow gear (hat, mitts, etc) because it took him all of two seconds...which is still two seconds longer than it would take me to toddle out there in my pjs and slippers.

Oh, right. This blog isn't supposed to be just me making fun of my partner, right? Well, there will be some of that mixed in here too. He makes me laugh every day (when he isn't busy being horribly annoying).

Back to the supposed topic of vegetarianism/cruelty-free living....I recently learned that my main make-up (Almay) has started testing on animals in order to sell to China (at least that's my understanding) so I need to find new make-up options. I've done a bit of research and realized that I've been spoiled with cheaper Almay prices. Eek. This may be painful.

And in food news, it's been a dull day. For supper my husband is having blech (uh, beef) stew and I plan to have some cereal and yogurt with a piece of fruit. Breakfast-suppers are my favourite lazy day supper. :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Veggie Stuffed Peppers

Not only do I acknowledge that I am an imperfect vegetarian, I am also an imperfect knitter (what's that hole??), and imperfect house-wife (ha, I cook one day per week and the husband does his own laundry) and an imperfect recipe maker (which you are about to learn).

Tonight we had my version of the Stuffed Peppers found here.

2 bell peppers
Onion (I didn't measure)
Garlic (use amount according to preference)
3 ish mushrooms
1/4 cup of rice
1 cup of water (and then some, I had to keep adding more but I stopped measuring. I'm annoying that way)
Spaghetti Sauce (enough to make your sauce thick)
1/2 cup of cottage cheese
1/3 cup of shredded cheese

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds. Boil the peppers for five minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Chop up the amounts of desired veggies and saute your concoction for a few minutes.
3. Add the rice and water. Cover and simmer until the rice is mostly cooked. This is where you will need to keep adding water. The rice needs it in order to cook. It should look kind of soupy until it's almost ready.
4. Add the spaghetti sauce and simmer some more.
5. Pour half of the sauce mixture into your two waiting peppers. Then add the cottage cheese on top, pour the remaining sauce, and then add the shredded cheese. You may end up with overflowing peppers, but I like them that way.
6. Place in a pre-heated oven of 350 degrees F. Bake covered for at least 10-15 minutes, or until heated through with yummy bubbly cheese.
7. Eat and enjoy!

Changes in threes

1. I'm definitely not perfect so all of this is a work in progress. In my year using cruelty-free products, I have not yet found a deodorant/antiperspirant that I've liked. Thankfully, for some strange reason I was a deodorant hoarder and have had enough of the animal tested products to get me through most of the year. And then my kind-of-crunchy/granola sister gave me some organic stuff she made and it seems to be working well. I will need to get these details from her.

2. Something else I would like to change is the food I'm eating. It has been mostly easy this past month doing the vegetarian thing, but I honestly admit that I'm not a *healthy* vegetarian. I eat junk. So, I would like to change some of this (without going crazy). We're going grocery shopping in a bit and I plan to pick up a few staples (such as couscous, quinoa, trail mix, more fruit & veggies, and hummus). I've already got some tofu on hand. I'm hoping to cut down on the pasta but that could be challenging as it is one of those dishes that can easily be meat-lover (aka my husband) or vegetarian (myself).

Tonight we are having stuffed peppers. I may post the recipe later.

3. And lastly, I would like to introduce one vegan meal into my week. I'm not prepared to do the vegan thing 100%, but every little bit helps, right? I'm also not up for it *this* week but plan to hunt for some recipe ideas tomorrow, buy the ingredients next weekend, and figure it out from there.


Once upon a time I was relatively successful on Weight Watchers. And then I stopped following the program and BAM! The weight all came back. This is my fault, not the program.

I could easily follow Weight Watchers, but I can't seem to 'get there' these days. So, instead, I'm focusing on controlling food binges and shifting to a vegetarian diet. I'm not looking to lose weight right now. I am looking to make healthier food decisions and eat according to my values. I never thought I would do the vegetarian thing. Ever.

But then I saw a youtube video by the Beagle Freedom Project which showed animal-tested beagles experiencing freedom and grass for the first time.

It broke my heart and I made the decision to switch to cruelty-free products. I have been cruelty-free for a year.

Then a bunch of recalls came out for ground beef. It made me question why I eat beef, as I don't really like it. So it made sense to avoid beef. I didn't expect to take it any further than that....but I watched Food, Inc and decided to ditch the whole meat thing completely. I'm not perfect and I may eat meat down the road but right now, it's the right decision for me.